About the Summer Youth Institute
The Summer Youth Institute is a curated learning experience for rising sophomore and junior high school students who are Mississippi residents.
SYI develops leadership, self-awareness, and community appreciation in students who desire to make an impact. Students participate in themed workshops where they:
- Learn the importance of relationship-building;
- Internalize the value of using their voices;
- Learn the significance of social and personal mindfulness and civic engagement.
The Summer Youth Institute grew out of the hearts and minds of a group of students at the University of Mississippi. Students who wanted to help nurture and develop Mississippi’s next generation of leaders. That diverse group of young visionaries sought to develop a program and experience for younger Mississippians to learn to lead with equity, justice, history, and possibility in mind. Their vision, supported by the Winter Institute and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, gave way to the first summer training in 2010. Every summer since then, a new and fantastic cohort of participants have experienced the Summer Youth Institute.
The Summer Mentor Program selects just 8 people each year to serve as Mentors for our Summer Youth Institute. Our Mentors are passionate about helping young people realize their incredible potential. They embody the qualities we look for in our student participants—highly motivated, patient, and energetic—and ask them to model appropriate and respectful behavior. This unique opportunity involves being a big sister/brother, confidante, role model and mentor while maintaining a very high level of professionalism.
Our mentors are young adults, college graduates, graduate students, and educators (usually between 22 and 30 years old), have experience working with culturally and/or socio-economically diverse young people, and possess a solid knowledge base of U.S. racial history, civil rights and human rights history, and anti-oppression/anti-racist frameworks. Those who have served as Mentors come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. We have had Mentors from Mississippi to South Africa, Columbia University to the University of Washington.